Learn About RCV

RCV stands for Ranked Choice Voting.  It's also called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).  It's a voting system that allows voters to rank the candidates on the ballot in their order of preference (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on).

Counting is conducted in rounds and a vote is always counted for the voter's highest ranked candidate still in the race. In the first round every voter's first choice is counted.  If any candidate has a majority of first choices, then that candidate wins.

If no candidate has a majority then the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated. All ballots are recounted. For some voters their second choice is now their highest choice (those who voted for the eliminated candidate). For others their first choice is still in the race.

If a candidate now has a majority then that candidate wins. Otherwise this counting process in repeated until one candidate reaches a majority.

RCV thus gives many advantages over our current voting system:
  •     Majority Winners
  •     No Spoiler Candidates
  •     No Wasted Votes
  •     Honest Voting
The "Ranked Choice Voting" name emphasizes the method as seen by the voters; voters rank their choices.  The "Instant Runoff Voting" name emphasizes how the votes are counted; they are counted as if an instant runoff were held with the lowest vote-getter eliminated from the runoff, repeating runoffs until a winner has a majority.

Click here for a graphical demonstration of IRV.

Visit FairVote.org for more information about IRV and the voting reform movement in the US.

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